ApplicationNo. 06/715324 filed on 03/25/1985
US Classes:15/329, To or from hand held and hand manipulated15/344, Hand supported and manipulated, e.g., miniature or upholstery type15/350, Separator mounted on or attached to manipulating handle, e.g., push broom type15/352, Separator element cleaning in situ and/or storage or removal of retained dirt15/410Handle features, e.g., limit stops or storage locks
ExaminersPrimary: Moore, Chris K.
Attorney, Agent or Firm
International ClassesA47L 5/22 (20060101)
A47L 9/32 (20060101)
A47L 5/24 (20060101)
A47L 9/14 (20060101)
DescriptionBACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to vacuum cleaners and more particularly to a vacuum cleaner convertible between an upright unit and a portable hand carried unit.
The conventional upright vacuum cleaner is provided with a housing or body having a nozzle means at its lower end and a handle mounted on its upper end extending from the housing for manipulating the vacuum cleaner in an upright manner along thefloor to be cleaned. Examples of such vacuum cleaners can be found in Valbona et al U.S. Pat. No. 3,667,085 and Findley et al, U.S. Pat. No. 3,193,992. Additionally, Fisker, U.S. Pat. No. 1,558,006 illustrates an upright vacuum cleaner providedwith a handle pivotally connected to the body of the unit so that it may be swung into a position alongside of the body of the vacuum cleaner during transport or storage.
Recently, small portable lightweight vacuum cleaners adapted to be hand carried have been developed. These types of vacuum cleaners are generally cordless, battery powered electric driven units which inclue a removable section to permitinsertion, removal and replacement of a filter bag. Illustrative of these types of vacuum cleaners are Pugh et al, U.S. Pat. No. 4,209,875 and Miller et al U.S. Pat. No. 4,380,845.
Additionally, Nupp et al, U.S. Pat. No. 3,758,914 illustrates a vacuum cleaner that is convertible between an upright vacuum cleaner and a portable hand carried vacuum cleaner. The Nupp et al patent also includes a removable dirt box and ahandle which is rotatable between an extended position and a retracted position overlying the dirt box. A number of different forms of vacuum cleaners have been developed wherein dirt boxes or other components of the vacuum cleaner are removable fromthe body of the unit. Illustrative of such vacuum cleaner structures are those shown in Nerheim, U.S. Pat. No. 2,564,339; Krammes, U.S. Pat. No. 3,040,362; and Buchtel, U.S. Pat. No. 4,467,493.
A number of different forms of connections between the handle and body of cleaning devices have also been developed. For example, the above Fisker patent shows a handle pivotally connected to the body of a vacuum cleaner which may be adjustedand secured to various positions by a butterfly or wing nut. Osborn, U.S. Pat. No. 2,460,236 illustrates a handle for a vacuum cleaner which includes a mechanism similar to a "dead man" switch in that whenever a trigger on the handle is squeezed thehandle may be freely pivoted on the body of the vacuum cleaner, and whenever the trigger is released the handle is locked in position. Lauderbach, U.S. Pat. No. 2,191,348 illustrates a two section handle for a dust mop or broom that includes abreakaway type latching mechanism between the two handle sections.
Furthermore, a number of different forms of push type operating handles for various devices have been developed that may be folded or collapsed to provide a carrying handle for the device. Gaudry et al, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,631,559 and 3,673,628as well as Anderson, U.S. Pat. No. 3,203,707 and Greene et al, U.S. Pat. No. 3,204,272 all relate to foldable handles for floor waxers or polishers. Benson et al, U.S. Pat. No. 2,821,258 relates to a foldable handle assembly for a power drivenlawn mower while Avolio, U.S. Pat. No. 4,381,766 discloses a foldable applicator which enables persons to reach their backs to apply lotions, creams, oils and the like.
In designing a multipurpose vacuum cleaner of improved construction, problems are always found relative to the placement and mounting of the various components. This is especially true in connection with the handle assembly, as well as the dirtreceptacle and filter bag assembly. It is important that the vacuum cleaner be designed so that it can be manufactured economically, as well as be assembled and serviced with a minimum of difficulty. Also, it is important that the dirt receptacle andfilter bag assembly be easily removable and reinsertable to permit cleaning of the filter bag and disposal of the collected dirt. Thus, the elements of the vacuum cleaner should cooperate and function in an efficient manner, keeping in mind the need fora compact unit which is visually attractive.
It is therefore a task of the present invention to provide a vacuum cleaner of improved construction which is convertible between an upright vacuum cleaner and a hand carried portable vacuum cleaner wherein the various components cooperate andfunction in an efficient manner.
It is another task of the invention to provide a convertible vacuum cleaner that is lightweight, easy to clean and visually attractive.
In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a vacuum cleaner is provided that is convertible between an upright vacuum cleaner and a portable hand carried vacuum cleaner that includes a handle pivotally mounted on the body of the unit forselective movement between an open position extending from the body for manipulation thereof in an upright floor carried vacuum cleaning operation, and a closed position overlying the body of the unit wherein the handle and housing cooperate to form ahand grip of discrete length for manipulation thereof in a portable hand carried vacuum cleaning operation. More specifically, the body of the unit includes a recess which provides a hand hold space between the handle and the body of the unit to formthe grip when the handle is in its closed position. Thus, the handle enables the unit to be readily converted from an upright vacuum cleaner to a portable hand carried vacuum cleaner.
In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the handle of the vacuum cleaner includes locking means for automatically locking the handle in position upon opening to its upright position and upon closing to its hand held portable position. The handle locking means includes a "breakaway" type latch which normally restrains the handle from pivotal movement out of its open position except upon the application of a predetermined external bending force on the handle. The locking means alsoincludes a latch for the handle when it is closed which is located on the door of the dirt receptacle and filter bag assembly rather than on the cleaner body. This prevents removal of the dirt receptacle and filter bag assembly when the handle is in itsclosed position. Thus, removal of the dirt receptacle and filter bag assembly is only permitted after movement of the handle from its closed position to its open extended position.
In still another aspect of the invention, the dirt receptacle and filter bag assembly is separable from the body of the unit and from each other for easy cleaning. This assembly includes a cover which forms a portion of the body of the unit anda dirt receptacle or reservoir integrally attached thereto which is receivable within a hollow portion of the body of the unit. The filter bag is attached to a frame which is slidable onto one end of the dirt reservoir and sealingly held in place in anair tight relationship when the cover is latched on the cleaner body.
The present invention thus provides an improved construction for a vacuum cleaner convertible between upright operation and portable hand held operation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The drawings illustrate the best mode presently contemplated of carrying out the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a side view in elevation of a vacuum cleaner embodying the invention with its handle closed and arranged as a portable hand carried vacuum cleaner;
FIG. 2 is a side view in elevation of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 1 with its handle in the extended open position and arranged as an upright floor carried vacuum cleaner;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged side view similar to FIG. 1 with parts broken away and in section;
FIG. 4 is an end view in cross section with parts broken away taken along the plane of the line 4--4 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary plan view in section taken along the plane of the line 5--5 in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary side view in section illustrating on an enlarged scale the sealing connection provided for the filter bag frame on the dirt reservoir;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side view with parts broken away and in section illustrating the breakaway latch for automatically locking the handle in its open extended position;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view illustrating the removal and insertion of the dirt reservoir and filter bag assembly on the body of the vacuum cleaner;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary detailed view in cross section illustrating the latch for holding the dirt reservoir and filter bag assembly on the cleaner body; and
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary detailed view in cross section illustrating the latch for locking the handle of the vacuum cleaner in its closed position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a vacuum cleaner generally designated by the numeral 1 constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention. As shown best in FIG. 8, however, vacuum cleaner 1 includes aU-shaped body or housing 2 enclosed at its upper end by a motor housing cover 3 and at its lower end by a door or cover 4 for the filter bag and dirt reservoir assembly which will hereinafter be described. Vacuum cleaner 1 is provided at its lower endwith a nozzle 5, and at its upper end with a handle 6 for use in manipulating cleaner 1 in a vacuum cleaning operation. Handle 6 is pivotally mounted on the upper end of body 2 for selected movement between an open position extending from body 2 (FIG.2) for manipulating vacuum cleaner 1 in an upright floor carried vacuum cleaning operation, and a closed position (FIG. 1) overlying body 2 and in abutment therewith wherein vacuum cleaner 1 is converted into a portable hand carried vacuum cleaner. Inthis latter position handle 6 and motor cover 3 cooperate to form a hand grip of discrete length at the upper end of cleaner 1 for manipulation in the portable hand carried vacuum cleaning operation. In order to accomplish this, motor cover 3 issubstantially Z-shaped so that a recessed portion 7 is formed to provide a hand hold space 8 between handle 6 and cover 3 when handle 6 is in its closed position.
Nozzle 5 may comprise a conventional nozzle as shown in FIG. 2 having wheels for movably supporting vacuum cleaner 1 on a floor surface. The nozzle may also include conventional rotating or reciprocating brushes (not shown) for facilitating theremovable of dirt and other material in the vacuum cleaning operation. As shown in FIG. 1, a conventional flexible hose 9 may be attached to the lower end of vacuum cleaner 1 to which in turn nozzle 5 may be connected so that vacuum cleaner 1 may beplaced on the floor or other supporting surface while a user merely manipulates nozzle 5 to clean furniture, upholstery or the like.
In operation, dirt is picked up by nozzle 5 and drawn through hose 9, if used, and then through a suction inlet tube 10 integrally attached to the lower end of body 2. The suction force is produced by air drawn through inlet 10 by means of a fandriven by a suitable electric motor housed within the upper end of body 2 and enclosed by cover 3. The electric motor receives electricity through a conventional power cord 11 which enters body 2 through the upper end of cover 3.
Dirt and air are delivered through suction inlet tube 10 to the dirt reservoir and filter bag assembly, which is best shown in FIGS. 3 and 8. The dirt reservoir and filter bag assembly includes cover 4 which as best shown in FIG. 8 is channel orU-shaped and includes a top wall and a pair of opposite downwardly extending side walls. The lip or edge of cover 4 sealingly engages the lip or edge of body 2 and motor cover 3 so as to form an air tight seal when cover 4 is assembled on body 2. Thedirt reservoir and filter bag assembly also includes a U-shaped container or reservoir 12 which includes a bottom wall and a pair of opposite side walls which interconnect the bottom wall with the top wall of cover 4. Thus, the side walls of cover 4 lieadjacent the side walls of reservoir 12 to form a ledge as shown best in FIG. 8. Reservoir 12 includes a tubular member 13 therein which is open at its opposite ends so that one end matingly engages suction inlet tube 10 when cover 4 is assembled onbody 2 and reservoir 12 projects into the hollow portion of body 2. The opposite end of tube 13 opens to the interior of a filter bag 14 which is connected to a frame 15 which in turn is slidably mounted on the front of reservoir 12. Bag 14 is composedof any suitable woven material which is permeable to enable air to be drawn therethrough and dirt to be deposited thereon. As shown best in FIGS. 3-6, frame 15 includes a rectangular shaped flat frame member 16 which is abuttable against the front edgeof reservoir 12 in sealing engagement therewith. As a means for holding frame member 16 against the front edge of reservoir 12 in an air tight relationship, cover 4 includes four spaced apart downwardly extending projections 17. As shown best in FIG.3, reservoir 12 includes a wall 18 disposed adjacent cover 4 having its front edge spaced from projections 17 a distance substantially equal to the thickness of frame member 16, as shown best in FIG. 6. Frame member 16 also includes a rectangular flangemember 19 projecting toward the upper end of body 2 to which filter bag 14 is attached, as by adhesives or any other conventional manner. Frame member 16 also includes an L-shaped member 20 projecting toward the lower end of body 2 which forms a channel21 for slidably receiving the front edge of reservoir 12. As shown best in FIG. 3, member 20 extends only about one-half to two-thirds of distance of frame member 16. As shown best in FIG. 6, the front edge of reservoir 12 includes a flange 22 whichprojects into channel 21 and flange 22 together with member 20 are held in air tight relationship by means of the longitudinal abutment or rib member 23 extending within the hollow portion of body 2 as shown best in FIGS. 4 and 6, rib member 23 engagesmember 20 when reservoir 12 and filter bag 14 are inserted within the hollow portion of body 2 to force flange 22 and member 20 into an air tight relationship to provide an air tight seal for frame member 16 along its bottom edge. Thus, frame 15 is heldin an air tight relationship on the front of reservoir 12 when cover 4 is latched on body 2.
Cover 4 along with reservoir 12 and filter bag 14 are held within the hollow portion of body 2 at one end by a rounded projection 24 integrally formed on the lower end of cover 4 which freely pivotally engages a hook member 25 projecting from theedge of body 2 at its lower end adjacent inlet tube 10. The opposite end of cover 4 is secured by means of a latch 26 which, as shown best in FIGS. 3 and 9 includes a latch member 27 pivotally mounted on cover 3 and located within a notch 28 formedtherein. Latch member 27 is biased to its latching position by means of a spring 29 and includes a lip 30 which overlaps and engages the edge of cover 4 as shown best in FIG. 9. The edge of cover 4 also includes a seal 31 along its edge which may bemade of rubber or urethane which enhances the air tight relatonship between cover 4 and motor cover 3. Thus, cover 4 is latched on body 2 by first inserting rounded projection 24 against hook member 25 and pivoting its upper end downwardly past lip 30to automatically lock cover 4 in place.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, there is shown a tab 32 at the lower end of cleaner 1 and a tab 33 at the upper end of cleaner 1. Tab 32 is intergrally formed with rounded projection 24 and is thus part of cover 4 whereas tab 33 projects intohand hold space 8 from motor cover 3. Tabs 32 and 33 provide means for storing power cord 11 when not in use by wrapping cord 11 therearound.
As shown best in FIG. 3, handle 6 includes a longitudinal portion 34 and an offset portion 35 which is pivotally connected to the upper end of body 2 by pin 36. When closed, the longitudinal portion 34 of handle 6 is held in substantiallyabutting relationship against cover 4. Portion 34 also includes a recess 37 which permits clearance for latch member 27. The free end of portion 34 includes a lip 38 which cooperates with a latch 39 which acts to automatically lock handle 6 in itsclosed position. As shown best in FIG. 10, latch 39 includes a latch member 40 pivotally connected, as at 41 to cover 4. Latch member 40 includes a projection 42 for engagement with lip 30 to hold handle 6 in its closed position. A spring 43 biaseslatch member 40 in a counterclockwise latching position as shown in FIG. 10. Spring 43 is friction fit about a projecting seat 44 to maintain its proper position as shown in FIG. 10. Thus, when handle 6 is being closed the beveled edge of lip 38 slidesagainst the beveled edge of projection 42 forcing latch member 40 clockwise until the point of lip 38 passes the point of projection 42 so that spring 43 forces latch member 40 to the left or counterclockwise to automatically lock handle 6 in its closedposition.
As shown best in FIGS. 3 and 7, handle 6 pivots about pin 36 which defines an axis transverse to the longitudinal axis defined by the opposite ends of body 2 and moves in a plane extending through the longitudinal axis. A latch 45 disposed atthe upper end of body 2 is employed to automatically lock handle 6 in its open position. As shown best in FIGS. 3 and 7, latch 45 includes a latch member 46 pivotally mounted as at 47 on body 2. Latch member 46 is biased in a clockwise direction asshown in FIG. 7 by a spring 48 one end of which engages the underside of latch member 46 and the other end of which is secured on a land 49 projecting from body 2. A hook member 50 is integrally attached to latch member 46 and includes an abutmentsurface 51 engageable with a corresponding abutment surface 52 in a recess 53 formed in offset portion 35 of handle 36. Thus, as handle 6 is moved toward its open position, recess 53 engages the beveled portion of hook member 50 forcing latch member 46in a counterclockwise direction until spring 48 forces abutment surface 51 to be engaged with abutment surface 52. Latch 45 is what may be termed a "breakaway" latch which means that latch 45 normally restrains handle 6 from pivotal movement out of itsopen position but will allow pivotal movement upon the application of a predetermined external bending force on handle 6. The amount of bending force necessary to cause the latch to "breakaway" is determined by the force of spring 48.
Control of the operation of electric motor within body 2 may be by means of an electric switch 54 which is located on motor cover 3 adjacent the pivotal connection of handle 6 to body 2.
When it is desired to clean reservoir 12 and filter bag 14 of the dirt collected during a cleaning operation, handle 6 must first be pivoted to its open position so that latch 26 may be released. Cover 4 may then be removed along with reservoir12 and filter bag 14. Filter bag 14 may then be slid off the front of reservoir 12 and cleaned. Also, the dirt collected in reservoir 12 may be deposited in an appropriate disposable container. Filter bag 14 may then be replaced on the front ofreservoir 12 and cover 4 maybe reassembled on body 2.
The ability of handle 6 to be disposed selectively in a closed position also facilitates storage of the vacuum cleaner 1 by reducing its overall length to substantially about 1/2 of its length from that when handle 6 is in its open position.
The invention has been illustrated in connection with the use of a nozzle 12 or combination nozzle 12 and hose 9. However, other suitable nozzles may be attached to the lower end of suction inlet tube 10 as is conventional in the vacuum cleanerart. Thus, for example, in using the vacuum cleaner 1 as a portable unit for cleaning draperies and the like a suitable modified form of nozzle (not shown) which is typically smaller than nozzle 5 may be utilized as desired.
A vacuum cleaner 1 has been illustrated and described which is convertible between an upright vacuum cleaner and a portable hand held vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner construction is extremely simple and economical with numerous elements ofthe vacuum cleaner structure being readily formed of molded plastic providing its relatively light weight.
Various modes of of carrying out the invention are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims particularly pointing and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention.
Field of SearchSeparator element cleaning in situ and/or storage or removal of retained dirt
Separator mounted on or attached to manipulating handle, e.g., push broom type
Handle movable relative to floor tool air exhaust conduit
Handle features, e.g., limit stops or storage locks
Hand supported and manipulated, e.g., miniature or upholstery type
To or from hand held and hand manipulated